South China Sea Dispute: China Holds Naval Drills Ahead Of July 12 Court Ruling
China has launched a five-day Naval drill in the highly contested area in the South China Sea ahead of the UN tribunal’s issuance of the decision on the territorial dispute case lodged by the Philippines in 2013.Advertisement
Now that the UN International Court of Arbitration in The Hague is about to issue its ruling in the territorial dispute case filed by the Philippines against China, the latter has further cranked up its position in the South China Sea row.
Sensing a decision from the international tribunal that would likely favor its most vocal opponent, the Philippines, China announced over the weekend its plans to launch a naval drill in the area, the state-run news agency China News reported.
The drills, which will be conducted by China’s People’s Liberation Army, starts July 5 and ends on July 11, a day before the UN court in The Hague issues its decision regarding the case. China has been adamant against participating or recognizing the proceedings as it has repeatedly said it would ignore the court’s ruling regardless of its outcome.
The decision of the Court, seen by international observers as highly likely favoring the Philippines, is non-binding and has already been ignored in the past.
But Zhu Feng of the Institute of International Affairs at China’s Nanjing University told TIME that the country’s move to resort to holding the drill in the final days of the court’s ruling sends several messages.
“The drills are a very symbolic expression of China’s resolve. It is definitely also responding to the recent American warships patrolling in the South China Sea,” Zhu was quoted as saying by TIME.